Cynthia Marie Lummis Wiederspahn (born September 10, 1954) is the U.S. Representative for Wyoming's At-large congressional district, serving since 2009. She is a member of the Republican Party. She previously served as a state representative (1979–83, 1985–93), state senator (1993–95), and state treasurer (1999–2007).
Lummis was born on September 10, 1954 in Cheyenne. She was educated at Trinity Lutheran School and public schools in Cheyenne. She was active in the 4-H Club and raised Hereford calves every year for showing at the annual county fair in August.
After high school, Lummis enrolled in the University of Wyoming in Laramie, the state's only four-year institution of higher learning.
She obtained two bachelor of science degrees in animal science in 1976 and in biology in 1978. While she was a legislator, she received her Juris Doctor degree in 1985 and also clerked for the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Lummis was a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1979 to 1982 and 1985 to 1992, and then the Wyoming Senate from 1993 to 1994. At twenty-four, she was the youngest woman to have been elected to the Wyoming House. Lummis concentrated on issues of taxation and natural resources.
On leaving the Wyoming Senate, she served as transition director for Republican Governor Jim Geringer and then worked for two years in Geringer's office. In that capacity she spearheaded the Governor’s Open Spaces Initiative and edited Wyoming’s Open Lands Guidebook. She also served on the Board of the Institute for Environmental and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming. She is a former interim director of the Office of State Lands and Investments. State revenues increased sharply during her tenure, and investment income increased.
Lummis was elected State Treasurer in 1998 and reelected in 2002 (unopposed) and 2004. She managed over $8 billion in annual funds and was elected President of the Western State Treasurer's Association. As State Treasurer, she was cited by the Small Business Administration as the "Women in Business Advocate of the Year 2005." The award is given to a public official who promotes women's business ownership. That same year, Lummis was honored by the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture as one of two "Outstanding Alumni." She was ineligible to seek reelection in 2006 because of Wyoming's term limits law, and was succeeded by fellow Republican Joseph B.
Meyer, previously Secretary of State of Wyoming.
On June 14, 2007, Lummis was among 31 Wyoming Republicans to file their names with the Republican State Central Committee in Cheyenne for consideration as the successor to U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, who died earlier in the month. She was chosen as one of the three nominees by the committee submitted to Governor Dave Freudenthal for final selection who, under Wyoming law, made the final selection on June 22, 2007, to appoint John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon and State Senator from Casper. Lummis had considered challenging Barrasso in the 2008 special election to complete the remaining four years of Thomas's term, but instead announced her candidacy for the open seat that was vacated by Barbara Cubin in the U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. House of Representatives
Lummis is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Lummis, who carried the support of pro-life and economic conservative voters in Wyoming, won the November 4, 2008, general election to succeed Barbara Cubin of Casper. In the August primary election, Lummis defeated businessman and rancher Mark Gordon who outspent her four-to-one, along with other candidates Bill Winney and Michael S. Holland.
In the general election, Lummis faced Democrat Gary Trauner of Wilson in Teton County, who criticized Lummis because she has supported privatization of Social Security and has also suggested raising the retirement age for receiving such benefits; Trauner has called instead for consideration of imposing the FICA tax on income over $100,000, which is currently exempt.
Lummis defeated Trauner by 10% points, however, she lost her home county, Laramie County. Trauner had the support of Governor Dave Freudenthal, with whom Lummis has had political and personal differences.
Trauner had nearly toppled Cubin in the 2006 election.
Lummis won re-election with 71% against Democratic challenger David Wendt.
Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner has called Lummis one of Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake's "posse of anti-appropriators" on the Approrpriations Committee. According to Carney, Lummis "is the league leader in bucking the committee leadership." She is a member of the Republican Study Committee.
Lummis is a lawyer and rancher in Cheyenne.
She manages Lummis Livestock, located outside Cheyenne, which began in 1919 when her great-grandfather, the owner of a hardware store, bought the property from a business partner. The ranch has a stone barn built in the latter 19th century. Lummis and Wiederspahn also own ranches in Wheatland and in Lincoln County.
Although she uses her maiden name, she has been married since 1983 to Cheyenne attorney and businessman Alvin Laramie "Al" Wiederspahn (born 1949), himself a former Democratic member of both houses of the Wyoming legislature. The two were House colleagues from 1979 to 1983, when they married. The Wiederspahns have a daughter, Annaliese Wiederspahn, who graduated in 2007 from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. They are members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cheyenne. Lummis's father-in-law was former Laramie County Coroner Arling Wiederspahn (1916–2007), a Democrat, a funeral home owner, and a leading civic builder of Cheyenne.
Her affiliations include the American Women's Financial Education Foundation, the Center for the Rocky Mountain West Advisory Board, Cheyenne's Vision 2020, the Wyoming Business Alliance, and the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust. She is the first woman to have served on the popular Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo Board. She won the title "Miss Frontier" in 1976. In 2003, Lummis was a fundraiser for the construction of Johnson Lummis Hunkins Plaza in Downtown Laramie in Albany County, where a statue has been erected in honor of Louisa Gardner Swain, the first woman ever to have voted in a general election in the United States.
Lummis appeared on The Colbert Report on March 9, 2009, as part of the show's recurring Better Know a District segment, which often lampoons members of the U.S. Congress. The segment dealt with cougars, or mountain lions, with Colbert asking if Wyoming had a cougar problem, while alluding to the slang use of the term "cougar". Mrs. Lummis is six years younger than her husband.
In 2008, Lummis reported her wealth as ranging from $20 million to $75 million. In 2010, she reported $5.5 million and $24 million each. She ranked in 2010 as the twenty-ninth wealthiest member of Congress. Most of Lummis’ wealth is derived from her family-owned Arp and Hammond Company, Lummis Livestock Company, and Old Horse Pasture Inc.
March 24, 2012